Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lookout, old Marty's back!

Back for his return engagement with Johnny Vegas.

The playlist:
Suspicious Minds (Elvis)
Fly Me To The Moon (Sinatra)
Mack the Knife (Bobby Darin)
This Guys in Love With You (Hal David/Burt Bacharach)
It's Not Unusual (Tom Jones)
Soul Man (Sam&Dave)
I Feel Good (James Brown)

Oh yeah, "And tonight is ladies night, at the Crystal Ballroom". Or rather Maxwell's.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Nothing to do with Jeff Smiths epic comic other than a somewhat similar naming scheme, Canadian company ToneBone has a series of pedals that mostly involve control and switching. To be honest I originally thought this just overpriced switching, and pretty useless. Then I put the BOSS TU-2 tuner in my signal path hoping for an economical way to split the signal, since it has muted and constant outs, and got nothing but noise for my troubles, especially when my adjacent Mac was on.

Since any recording I do will be on that computer, and the LoopBone (and others in the line up) have a dedicated buffered tuner out to completely remove it from the signal path, its looking quite a bit more attractive. And then I won't have to untangle a mess of cables whenever I want to throw some of the noise into the mix.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Normally I wouldn't just pinch cool links from other (better) blogs I follow. Blogs I may have even cited recently or could even have as favorite links, just to the right - but I think I've found a little syncronicity in these two:

1. El Ten Eleven's CD is released today on a (major?) label - live looping instrumental pop with drums and a double neck bass/guitar

2. These looping videos are the shit: Dosh with a Rhodes 88 some drums and a looper pedal, and Kid Beyond a human beat box using AbletonLive

Monday, September 19, 2005


Tried out the Digitech Whammy and BOSS PS-5 this weekend and wasn't really impressed with either. Can't really see using the harmonizer functions - just sounds too cheesy and synthesized. And neither did 2 octaves down well (although it might've been better if I'd remembered to use the neck pickup). Although the Whammy's chorus like Detune function was neat.
So I thought I'd look at more specific analog octave pedals - 'cuz really its the idea of the Jack White one man band (plus mediocre percussion) I want to emulate - not necessarily his tone (with the Whammy). So having an OC-2 (the discontinued analog bass octave pedal) and a fuzz octave like Fulltone's Ultimate Octave or ZVex Johnny Octave would be ideal. Both ostensibly emulations or homages to Hendrix's Tycho Brahe Octavia. Dial them in and click them on as required with no fiddling. Lay down a bass line in the sampler, then click over to do some screaming leads.
But then I tripped on the OCTRON. New, all analog, one octave up and one octave down - and sounds great from the samples. But availability could be limited since there's one guy hand building them.


Duelling vibraphones. What more need I say? These guys have some of the most lush cinematic instrumentation I've ever seen. You can't help but lose yourself in it.
A friend imagined herself driving down the 401 as the blur of autumn reds and golds rushed by. On the same track I envisioned a botched suicide attempt in a Wes Anderson movie. What does that say about me?
Watching live, I could focus aurally on a particular instrument and pick it out of the mix, by just looking in the performers direction. Kudos to the sound engineer. Especially when they busted out the violin bows for the vibraphones.

The mic roundup

Chris at Analog Industries has done a fantastic little survey of some large diaphragm condensor mics, by special request from none other than yours truly. Great all-round studio mics, they fit my purposes perfectly - mic'ing a guitar amp, an acoustic or some vocals (if I get the nerve) - they do it all. Now I just gotta check the bank account.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Monster in a Bottle

So I'm watching Some Kind of Monster on the Documentary Channel last night, riveted to the train wreck that is egos making art by committee with therapeutic mediation. Then Hetfield smiles and points "That was the first amp I ever owned."
I nearly fell of the couch. The head with the tell tale 3 knobs by 3 clusters in a silver face framed in dusty grey tolex, and the smoke stained gold 2x12 grill - SEARS Silvertone Twin Twelve.
Nice. The tone of Cake, Death Cab, the White Stripes ... and Metallica.
As the credits rolled I switched over to MFest as Lightning in a Bottle started. The opening track demanded clarity, a piercing cry of a Blues chanteuse and I scrambled to turn on my stereo to better listen. Metallica never seemed to require more fidelity than my tinny TV speakers could deliver.
I'm sure it had nothing to do with Hetfield never playing the Silvertone, but only Hi-Watts and Mesa Rectifiers. And the bank of vintage Blackface, Brown Tolex and Tweed that flanked centre stage at Radio City Music Hall.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Smaller and smaller and smaller ...

New iPod Nano's are out - 2 and 4 Gig models flash memory - no hard drive. But they've abandoned IEEE 1394 Firewire connects for USB 2.0 and you need at least Panther to run it? Still, I may need to upgrade.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Can't decide between Digitech Whammy's fixed harmonizing or BOSS PS-5's intelligent harmonizer? If you got $2000 and like fiddling with knobs and buttons, you don't have to: TC Electronic G-Force
Note that its a hell of a lot more than a harmonizer - and if my skills approached Steve Vai's then I'd consider it might reinvigorate some stale playing. But wait, he uses a Whammy too (and an Eventide ...)
Tom at MusicThing cited the new Vintage Pedal line but something about it rings false. The company has some sweet rack processors, and this line of vintage (priced) digital stompboxes - not point to point hand wired true bypass analog boutique clones. Just like ToneCore is to Line 6's flagship pedal lineup - for those that can't afford the top end.
I thought the purpose of going digital was absolute control over your sound, with infinite possibilities - and staying analog/tube was a purity of tone - but with these pedals you sacrifice both.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ooh La La

"The peak of decadence"

This is what pop music should look like. And this is what it should sound like.

The princess is in another castle

This boy gots mad skills!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

"makin' a wreck"

Last night a friend from work sat in on trumpet with Johnny Vegas, a local lounge singer. He hadn't played in years, and wasn't even sure why he was doing it - midlife crisis was his own best guess. I've never seen him so nervous - but he killed.

He even got invited back for three more shows, plus the bands 10th anniversary/500th performance party in November. Way to go Marty.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"...they hate you 'cuz you're guilty"

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists playing southern Ontario the end of this month. I'll be trekking to TO to catch the Thursday show, and staying in town for a stag, but could be back in Ottawa in time for the Sunday at Zaphods.

Cuff the Duke

These guys have been garnering a lot of national buzz - been called "Canada's best alt-country act" more than once, which dooms them to a career of obscurity even in their own nation. But dang, its pretty listenable.

Playing Barrymore's Sept 18 with The John Henry's (another of the many Songbird clerk bands - such as AV & the Pirates, Hi Lo Trons, South of '78 and others).

Note, they're also playing Guelph on Sept 20 and 22.

Friday, September 02, 2005

... or $120US!?!

What the shit? Right, so Epiphone just released a line of not just entry level, or well priced, but downright cheap recording/practice tube amps. There's a brilliant review in Vintage Guitar Mag, but Musicians Friend has them even cheaper than that published list price.

There's a no frills model, with features identical to a Champ (i.e. no features, well volume and on/off). But this one, still at 5 Watt Class A single-ended EL84 has some bells and whistles tacked on, and a 10" speaker.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

All tube "Class A" 5 Watt combo with a Celestion: $200Cdn

Yeah, you read that right. It's a Crate, not some fanciful boutique, a vintage Champ or Tweed Princeton (or even some hand built one of a kind knock off, like mine). But this could be pretty cool. Especially if you're into modding.